The James Hardie Siding Guide for Homeowners
We know how much pride you take in your home, and how you always want it to look its best. Maybe you’re considering a residing project to freshen up your home’s exterior. You want siding that is durable; Indianapolis is no stranger to extreme weather events and temperatures. At the same time, you want it to be low-maintenance, because you’d like to keep your spring cleaning To-Do list as short as possible. Finally, you want a siding that looks attractive, too. It seems that no matter which siding material you choose, while it might have some of these benefits and others, it doesn’t have all of them.
At JD Hostetter & Associates, we’ve put together this James Hardie Siding Guide for Homeowners to introduce you to a siding that does meet all of these requirements (and has other great benefits, too). James Hardie siding is the most popular brand of siding in North America, and after you read this guide, you’ll understand why. You’ve probably heard it referred to by various names, for example, James Hardie siding, Hardie Board siding, Hardie siding, HardiePlank®, and HardieShingle®. Customers are all referring to the same amazing fiber cement products made by James Hardie. We’re excited to tell you all about it!
What is James Hardie Siding?
Chances are pretty good that you’ve seen James Hardie siding on homes in your neighborhood, given its popularity. Why is it so popular? Let’s start with what it is. James Hardie invented fiber cement siding over 30 years ago. This manmade material consists of sand, cement, and cellulose fibers that have been dyed and pressed into boards. Fiber cement offers numerous benefits to homeowners without the drawbacks of other common siding materials like vinyl or wood. We’ll talk more about these benefits momentarily, but they include being able to stand up to extreme weather and temperatures; and being rot, mildew, and pest-resistant, as well as non-combustible.
If you like wood siding or the typically smooth texture of vinyl, there are James Hardie options you’re going to love. James Hardie’s numerous designs include planking that mimics the smooth texture of some vinyl siding and planking that has a wood grain. If you like cedar shakes, James Hardie has those, too! No matter what you’re looking for, James Hardie offers appealing design choices and colors to help you create the home of your dreams without needing to worry about the hassles of other siding materials.
What are the advantages to James Hardie siding?
You want siding that will protect your home and look amazing doing it. It seems like that may be a tall order for any siding material,but James Hardie’s superior siding checks both those boxes and several more. There are many reasons that homeowners have chosen James Hardie siding over the years; let’s take a look at some of the James Hardie siding benefits:
It protects against changing weather and temperature: James Hardie siding is Engineered for Climate® and can handle the extreme weather and temperature changes in the Indianapolis area. (We’re in HardieZone® 5.) James Hardie siding stands up to blazing hot summers and frigid winters; and weather events that bring heavy rains, wind, sleet, hail, and snow. It also won’t expand, buckle, and contract thanks to temperature cycles.
It resists moisture and rot: James Hardie siding can handle heavy storms because it is made to withstand damage from moisture and rot, unlike other types of siding.
It resists flame: A house fire is a homeowner’s worst nightmare. James Hardie siding is non-combustible, so it will not ignite when exposed to a direct flame and will not contribute fuel to a fire that is already burning.
It is environmentally friendly: James Hardie siding is made from sand, cement, and cellulose fibers, all materials that are non-toxic. James Hardie sources and manufactures its products all over the country and has minimized the environmental impact of transporting them. Because James Hardie siding is made to last for decades, less of it is produced, and it isn’t crowding landfills.
It’s easy to clean: While the thought of cleaning your home’s exterior might be overwhelming, James Hardie makes it easy! The siding only requires a mixture of soap and water to clean dirt and grime followed by a rinse from your garden hose!
It offers great curb appeal: Not only is it durable, James Hardie siding is also available in numerous colors and patterns that are eye-catching and make your home look its best, no matter which siding options you choose. You can rest assured that your home looks great with its James Hardie exterior even as its also protected from the elements.
It comes with a fantastic warranty: James Hardie sidng’s great appeal and durability are meant to last. It comes with a 30-year warranty. Trim products come with a 15-year warranty, as does its ColorPlus® Technology.
It offers a great return-on-investment: Thanks to its performance and longevity, your home’s value will increase over time. Hardie siding will also increase your home’s resale value, as more people are looking to purchase a home that has James Hardie siding installed.
James Hardie Siding Product Options
No matter your home’s design, there are James Hardie siding products and styles that will enhance its character.
HardiePlank® Lap Siding
This is the most popular type of siding in North America. In our area, James Hardie’s Select Cedarmill® is ready to go! These planks feature a wood grain pattern.
James Hardie also offers lap siding that is available to Indianapolis residents via special order in Dream Collection™ products and Primed for Paint only:
- Beaded Cedarmill®
- Beaded Smooth
The two beaded options feature a rounded edge along the bottom of each plank.
This siding mimics the look of cedar shakes. You can choose either staggered-edge or straight-edge panels, depending on your taste. HardieShingle® siding is available in Statement Collection™ products and Dream Collection™ products.
HardieShingle Straight Edge
HardieShingle Staggered Edge
This vertical siding offers a stunning contrast to traditional horizontal siding. Select Cedarmill® features a wood grain pattern in contrast with Smooth HardiePanel® siding. Two additional options are available via special order in Dream Collection™ products and Primed for Paint only: Stucco and Sierra 8, which combines texture and linear detail that is sure to make your home stand out from the others on your block.
Complement your siding with HardieTrim® boards to accentuate your home’s windows, doors, columns, fascia, and more. HardieSoffit® panels cover roof eaves and the underside of outdoor porch ceilings. They are available in both non-vented and vented options to meet coding regulations.
James Hardie Artisan siding
Artisan lap siding is one of James Hardie’s newest collections. The company describes the siding as “luxurious” for good reason. These extra-thick boards feature deep shadow lines and are primed for paint. They can be complemented with the Artisan Collection’s extra-thick trim. They offer a stunning choice for your home’s residing project.
Explore James Hardie Color Options
We’ve told you about the various siding options that are available to you, now let’s talk about Hardie siding color! James Hardie’s ColorPlus® Technology ensures that your siding’s deep, rich color will last. James Hardie applies multiple coats of its proprietary finish to each plank, curing them in between. The end result is a finish that resists chipping, peeling and cracking. The ColorPlus® Technology also means that your siding resists fading and looks great for a long time.
The Aspyre Collection
We mentioned the beautiful, thick lap siding that makes up James Hardie’s Artisan Collection. It comes primed for paint, and so you are only limited by your imagination when it comes to selecting the perfect color for your home.
Want to take your home’s exterior one step further? James Hardie’s Aspyre Collection combines the elegant Artisan Collection with James Hardie’s Reveal® Panel System so that you can create the home that you’ve been wanting, whether that’s traditional or modern. Reveal® Panels are smooth, 7/16-inch thick panels that are 47.5” wide. Combine them with the Artisan Collection and you have even more possibilities to choose from to ensure that your home looks exactly the way that you want it to.
Discover Ideas & Inspiration
We’ve told you about the benefits of James Hardie siding and the options that are available to us in the Indianapolis area. Are you ready to start thinking more concretely about your siding project? Great! James Hardie has a House Siding Ideas Gallery, which is a great starting point.
Contemplating color? First, remember that James Hardie’s ColorPlus® Technology means that you’ll get a deep, vibrant finish thanks to multiple, cured coats that resists chipping, peeling, cracking, and fading, and has a 15-year warranty. Whether you want a neutral, lighter finish like Cobble Stone or a deeper shade, like Iron Gray, James Hardie’s Statement Collection™ offers a variety of James Hardie siding colors that homeowners can choose from. Not seeing one that speaks to you? That’s OK! James Hardie’s Dream Collection™ offers over 700 additional colors that are made-to-order and available with many James Hardie siding and trim styles.
The company offers tips for thinking about color on its Exterior Home Design Ideas page. You can also take a look at the Exterior House Visualizer if you need help visualizing what your home could look like after its siding transformation. Choose a color from the Statement Collection™, then choose the style of your home and the kind of siding you’d like. You’re then invited to choose from a curated collection of colors or your own for your home’s trim and accents (windows, door, and roof).
What are some tips for James Hardie siding installation?
Residing a home is probably one of the biggest projects that a homeowner can undertake. To keep homeowners from feeling overwhelmed, James Hardie offers seven steps to follow:
- Look for inspiration
Drive around your neighborhood. Do an internet search. Take a look at James Hardie’s website and Pinterest account. Save pictures that you like to help you keep track of (and eventually narrow down) your choices.
- Determine your budget
You need to figure out how much you’ll be willing and able to spend on your residing project. Contractors can also help you get a sense of what you should expect to spend, and can help you figure out how to stay with your allotted budget.
- Create your plan
Once you have a budget, you should contract multiple contractors in your area to get quotes. It’s important to choose a contractor who is familiar with the James Hardie siding installation process. They’ll be able to help you figure out which products are the best ones for your home and what your residing schedule will look like.
- Settle on your project’s scope
You may have been planning a large project–for instance, installing both new siding and trim, but realize that your new trim will have to wait. Figure out exactly what materials you’re going to need to purchase, and how long the project will take to be completed on schedule.
- Choose your contractor
We’ll mention it again because it’s so important: Make sure that you hire a qualified siding contractor with experience installing Hardie siding. We’ll talk more about this in a bit, but the important thing to remember is to take your time selecting the contractor for your project. Great contractors understand how this process works and expect that you’re going to be talking to multiple companies to find the one that’s right for you.
- Prepare for construction
Before your new siding goes on your house, it’s going to be placed in your yard or on your driveway, so make sure that you’ve cleared a spot for it. You’ll want to keep in mind that your walls may vibrate thanks to the work that’s being done, so make sure you move anything fragile off or away from them.
- Enjoy your new siding!
This last step is the easiest, of course. Once your project is complete, you get to enjoy your home’s beautiful transformation.
What is the typical installation process like?
We just told you a bit about to prepare for construction, but you’re’ probably wondering what that process will involve. Let’s take a look at the process for installing HardiePlank® siding, as that’s the most popular choice of siding.
According to the HardiePlank® Best Practice Guide for HardieZone® 5:
- The contractor will install a starter strip beneath the first course of siding to ensure that the planks are all installed correctly. It will be placed at the bottom edge of the sheathing. Occasional gaps will be left in the starter strip to allow any accumulated moisture behind the siding to drain away safely.
- The first course of planking is installed at the lowest point of the home. The contractor will ensure that it’s straight and level. “Blind nailing” is used, and so each subsequent course of planks covers the nails on the course below.
- After your contractor has secured the first course of planking, installation continues with full 12′ pieces until a door, window, or other feature interrupts the placement. Your contractor will notch these planks as needed.
The typical installation process takes 10–12 days, but that is dependent on a number of factors:
- The number of stories in your home
- The square footage of your home
- The terrain around your home (Is it all flat? Does it slope?)
- The landscaping around your home (Do you have trees or bushes or other natural features close to the side of your house?)
- Whether you need to have your existing siding removed
- Whether you need your new siding to be painted
- The type of siding you choose
We shared an overview of the installation process for HardiePlank® siding, but different types of siding have different installation processes.
How much does James Hardie siding cost?
When you embark on a residing project, one of the earliest and most crucial steps is to determine your budget. As you figure out how much money you have to devote to your project, you’ll undoubtedly want to know how much the siding will cost. Home Advisor reports that the typical range for installation of fiber cement siding nationwide is $5,530 – $17,865. The national average cost is $11,617.
These amounts are based on actual project costs reported by 1,220 HomeAdvisor members. As you look at these numbers and think about your own budget, remember that the issues we mentioned above that can affect installation time. Some of those factors will also affect the cost of your siding and of your overall project, for example, the square footage of your house.
Remember, too, though, all of the benefits that you are getting by installing Hardie siding on your home: It will last for decades; you are making a fantastic investment that will only increase the value of your home, putting you in a great position should you decide to sell it in the future. In the meantime, you can enjoy siding that protects your home from the elements and won’t chip, buckle, expand, or contract thanks to changing temperatures. And it’s moisture-, rot-, pest-, fade- and fire-resistant. It’s easy to keep clean, too, so your spring cleaning will go even faster.
What to look for in a qualified James Hardie siding contractor?
You want to make sure that you choose a siding contractor who is qualified to install James Hardie siding. JD Hostetter & Associates is proud to be a Hardie Elite Preferred siding contractor. We have been helping Indianapolis-area homeowners with their siding, roofing and other home-exterior projects since 2004 and have been partners with James Hardie for 8 years. As a James Hardie Elite Preferred Contractor, JD Hostetter & Associates maintains the high standards of installation, customer service, and reliability set by the James Hardie company. We are honored that we have earned the highest level of homeowner recommendations based on customer satisfaction data from GuildQuality, the industry leader in third-party surveying. Please visit our profile page on the James Hardie website, and take a look at our reviews page to see what clients have to say about us.
You want to make sure that you select the right contractor for your project, and reputable contractors understand this. They want you to feel comfortable and confident that you have made the right choice. With that in mind, we have compiled a list of 6 warning signs that should raise red flags for you that something is amiss:
- The contractor has no portfolio or reviews to share with you
Browse contractors’ websites, social media channels, and do a search on Google and other review websites. You should be able to see examples of the work a contractor has done, and see what former customers have to say. Check with the Better Business Bureau, too.
- The contractor can’t (or won’t) offer you proof of insurance
While the specific laws vary from state to state (and town to town), all contractors need to have current licenses, registration, and insurance policies. It is typical and expected that potential clients will ask to see proof of these documents. Working with an unlicensed contractor is dangerous and a liability for them and for you.
- The contractor isn’t local
You want to work with someone who knows the area and who has a positive, respected reputation. Be wary when consulting with new-to-the-area contractors and make sure to do your research thoroughly.
- The contractor asks you for money up front
A reputable contractor should not ask you for money up front. They should have enough money from previous business to be financially solvent. Be wary if a contractor asks you for cash-only payments. They want to keep the money hidden and not have a papertrail.
- The contractor makes an aggressive pitch
When you are interviewing contractors, they will come to your home to look at the exterior, run numbers, and talk with you about the project and answer all of your questions. A confident contractor will take their time to ensure that you’re both on the same page, and while they want your business, certainly, they shouldn’t aggressively try to get you to commit then and there to working together.
- The contractor gives you a “bad vibe.”
Trust your intuition. You should feel relaxed, comfortable, and respected during your chat with potential contractors, who, again, should be confident, relaxed, and respectful toward you. If you sense that something is “off,” it might be. Do not feel that you should sign a contract with anyone with whom you don’t feel completely comfortable.
To Wrap Up
No matter what you call Hardie siding, it’s a great choice for your residing project. It will add elegance and curb appeal to your home, and with a variety of options and colors, you’ll be able to find the ones that make your home look just the way you want it to. You can rest easy knowing that your home will be protected from the elements, and will resist for decades damage that is sustained by other siding materials. A Hardie Elite Preferred siding contractor can help you determine which options will work the best with your home and your budget.
Contact us to schedule a free Hardie siding quote (including a design consultation). We look forward to helping you get the attractive home you want and deserve.